by Cherie Priest
Cover Artist: Photo: Argo74 / Shutterstock
Review by Gayle Surrette
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345520609
Date: 25 January 2011 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
There's the set of rules you use to organize and run your life. Then there's the way you actually run your life. Raylene Rendle is a vampire and a thief. She specializes in taking back the things that may have been taken from you – of course you pay a lot to get it back. She doesn't socialize or deal with other vampires and she never gets attached to people. So how did she end up working for a vampire while trying to keep two children living in her warehouse alive, and warn her contacts to lie low, all while trying to keep herself, the client, and the kids alive. Guess some rules are made to be broken.
In this world, the vampires, werewolves, and others exist, but the world at large thinks that they're creatures of fairy tales and horror stories. Raylene's newest client knows that someone in the government knows about them, because he was captured and tortured continuously before he escaped. He wants Raylene to break into a government building and steal his medical files. Didn't sound too difficult, at least not until Raylene started to prep for the job and set off some warning bells somewhere because soon things got very dangerous indeed.
Raylene is a great character. She's cautious, organized and a bit of an adrenaline junkie. She loves what she does and it pays well. There's a set of rules that she's imposed on herself that make living her life a lot easier. They're not rules so much as guidelines – the problem is even while you're reading the story you know she's just fooling herself. The book is narrated by Raylene – it's all in first person so if you don't like first person stories you're probably not going to like this one. However, I don't mind having the main character narrate the story and Raylene has some interesting thoughts and observations.
While there is plenty of action, a lot of the story is involved in the nitty-gritty fact finding that must be done in order to uncover this secret organization that is capturing and experimenting on supernaturals. I happen to enjoy solving such puzzles and the finding of clues and piecing them together is, for me, just as exciting as the chases, combat, near escapes, and desperate struggles to stay alive and in one piece. There's enough here to keep you reading.
This is not your usual urban fantasy – it's more Bourne Identity meets Remington Steele with a bit of Mission Impossible thrown in for flavor. It's not that the plot or characters follow any of those movies, but it has a bit of that convoluted, witty, complex plotting flavor to it.